I used to work on a monthly magazine, and year-round we had three issues in various states of preparedness. It was an ongoing struggle to keep everything moving forward. We had feature writers (both staff and freelance), columnists, editors, graphic artists, and a publisher that all worked together, but each had their own little group mentality. It always impressed me to think of a newspaper that had to do daily what we did monthly. So this book intrigued me.
We have the extended story of a little independent newspaper that survived for decades in Europe, and a series of shorter stories about the staff that make up the current office. The writing is wonderful, and each of the stories is well conceived, sometimes sad, sometimes humorous, but always interesting.
Mr. Rachman does a brilliant job of ever-so-lightly intersecting the lives of these individuals through their office life, spouses and friends. The result is a deep, 3rd party understanding of what is going on and why, while the individual players simply live out their lives. As a nice bonus, the chapter titles are little puzzles that are uncovered in a different surprising way in each chapter.
My only reason for less than 5 stars is that I really wanted a novel about the staff, and not a dozen short stories. I really enjoy the experience of immersing in a story for hundreds of pages, and the short story format was just never my favorite.
I will definitely keep my eyes open for the next novel by Mr. Rachman.